Sunday, June 24, 2012

On Growth.

     I started this blog back in 07' and it contained some of my free time musings, especially those concerning religion. Every word I printed and all of the incredible people I met along the way I do not and will not ever regret saying or meeting. I meant them at the time with a sincere and open heart. Also, my life has grown greatly because of these sharp wits that I met through these various on-line blogs and to them I will forever remain in their debt.

     However, as first and foremost an obsessive reader by choice and in my deepest passion (that of the pursuit of truth at all costs) - my views since 07 have grown dramatically, namely far from what one would call "conservative Christian," or even more generally, a theist at all. The seeds of this doubt I carried with me already in my most stringent studies of the Hebrew bible and Greek New Testament. There are contained in these writings unsolvable errors, contradictions and moral failings such that to the extant that they can no longer be seen as divinely mandated at all but simply as human writings, no different from the plethora of the other texts among the world's religions or even the classical Greek writings.

     Much more can be said about these issues but I dare not go into them here I simply do not have the time or energy for such a construction. I plan a full scale work to tackle these knotty issues in the future.  What I do plan to do here in this blog is to survey all of my old postings (and in some of my other blogs) and give updated and refinements on some of the issues I think I was incorrect in holding. This is of course a daunting effort and for a writer one of his most feared excursions; to admit error. But I hold now science and humanism as the ultimate epistemological methodologies and to be intellectually consistent I must put forward what I consider to be better views on some of the issues I have briefly written about on these blogs.

     This takes courage and patience.


 R. E. Aguirre

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Most of my internet content will now be posted at Join us there.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Movie Review, Battle. Los Angeles

Movie Review, Battle. Los Angeles ½★

Take a movie with a somewhat decent plot, excellent CGI and the occasional good camera work, now add to it obscenely cliche writing and music, virtually no strong acting, a wooden male lead and a predictable ending and you come up with Jonathan Liebesman's Battle. Los Angeles (2011).

Do I recommend it? Well you don't want to take a girl to see this type of movie since it is a classic example of a testosterone-flick. But if you are considering taking your man (or a buddy) to see it and he is one of those types that are easily amused with shiny objects and believes that the US wars on Iraq/Afganistan were completely justifiable well then he will have a smash. But if your date has any sense of critical thinking you are better off saving your money.


R. E. Aguirre

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Book Review, Universal Theory.

Book Review, Universal Theory, Kermanshahi.

Universal Theory. A Model for the Theory of Everything by Mohsen Kermanshahi (Universal Publishers, 2007) is an interesting foray into the higher physical theories and Kermanshahi's brave attempt to unify them all (something no one has been able to do thus far). Unfortunately, Kermanshahi (dentist by profession) falls far short. The entire presentation seems muddled and haphazardly thrown together. There are numerous typological errors and even the English syntax is hard to follow at times (as if English is not the author's first language and if the book is a half-hearted attempt at a translation from a source language).

Like many others thinkers lately consciousness is the key to unify the various theories or what Kermanshahi dubs "singularity." But the main thrust of the argument is not fully fleshed out and seems hanging at some parts and too developed and redundant in others. Universal Theory bears the marks of a layman's attempt at the near impossibility even for the specialists. Much better treaties exist from this standpoint.

R. E. Aguirre

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Most Holy Trinity and Development of Doctrine

Did the Doctrine of the Trinity Develop?
Alvaro T. Raymundo Th.M.

It was customary among the more older works of scholastic theology as well as manuals of dogmatic theology (Catholic/Protestant/Orthodox) in conversations on the doctrine of the most Holy Trinity to claim that the complex Nicene formulation of the Trinity was believed already in the New Testament (and some would say in the Old as well). And while the more extreme heterodox groups have always denied this dogma it really was beginning with the advent of the Protestant Reformation (especially the Anabaptists) that this doctrine was called into question occasionally (albeit for different grounds, i.e., a rejection of post Biblical tradition).

The sons of the Reformers, - the radical Lutheran History of Religion critics, also mounted assaults on this doctrine, but again on different grounds, i.e., so-called "dependence" on the Graeco Roman pagan religions on the part of the authors of the New Testament and the early Fathers. The backlash of all this criticism was the conservative stance, which claimed that the Trinity in all its tricky inseminations was found completely in the pages of Scripture. To go beyond this fundamentalistic reasoning was to dangerously flirt with “higher critical liberalism.”

It was left for Pius XII in his Divino Afflante Spiritu which opened up the flood gates for Catholic scholarship to explore the limits of hermeneutics and the literary criticisms, while remaining within the circle of orthodoxy.1 And while Rahner bemoaned the state of Trinitarian study in his day this complaint no longer has any merit.2 Catholic scholars such as Fortman and Brown3 were contending that the New Testament writers had no conception of the Trinity as it was couched in Nicene phraseology but instead they held to an “elemental” Trinitarianism, or the building blocks which later Catholic theologians would use to construct the Trinitarian edifice (guided by the Hand of the Spirit). This is no less than a beautiful example of the "Development of Doctrine" conception as it was classically explained by John Henry Newman.

The earliest post-NT writings seem to support this conclusion.4 In First Clement the Father is intelligibly God and the pre-existence of Christ can be deduced from texts such as (22, 1). The closest thing to a Trinitarian frontal statement is in (58, 2), “As God lives, and the Lord Jesus Christ lives, and the Holy Spirit.”5 The stress throughout Clement is usually on Christ and the Three are rarely mentioned together. In this matter Clement seems very primitive and similar to the statements of Paul in the NT.

In the Ignatian corpus the Development of Doctrine is already beginning to flower. Christ is directly called God fourteen times,6 but as in Clement there is no frontal formulations of the Trinity in Ignatius. As in Clement, Ignatius speaks of the Trinity in its functions rather than in tractarian terms, “Like the stones of a temple, cut for a building of God the Father, you have been lifted up to the top by the crane of Jesus Christ, which is the cross, and the rope of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 9.1). The same things can be said of Hermas, the Didache, the Martyrdom of Polycarp, Barnabas, 2 Clement. All of which speak in Trinitarian language, albeit in a very primitive and rudimentary way.7

It is not an affront to orthodoxy at all to state that the dogma of the Trinity as it was codified in Councils such as that of Nicaea was a careful and divinely guided example of the Development of Doctrine. This view holds that the seeds of Trinitarianism are found already in the Scriptures (both Old and New) but it was left for God’s community over the passing of the centuries to slowly unfold this greatest and central mystery of our faith.



¹ Catholic scholars such as Chenu, Congar, Jungmann, Rahner, de Lubac, Lagrange, Danielou, Bouyer, etc were pioneers in this expedition.

² Studies and monographs on the Trinity are an enormous cache now in the beginning of the twenty-first century. In my opinion the best Catholic exposition of the twentieth century was that of Edmund J. Fortman, The Triune God: A Historical Study of the Doctrine of the Trinity (Oregon: Wipf and Stock, 1999). One of the best Orthodox expositions was Sergius Bulgakov, The Comforter(Eerdmans, 2004). The Protestant expositions on the Trinity was a jumbled mess, that is well chronicled by the Anglican scholar Kevin Giles, Jesus and the Father: Modern Evangelicals Reinvent the Doctrine of the Trinity (Zondervan, 2006) and also Millard J. Erickson, Who’s Tampering with the Trinity?: An Assessment of the Subordination Debate (Kregel Academic, 2009).

³ Fortman, opt cit; R. E. Brown, Biblical Exegesis and Church Doctrine (Paulist, 1985) are just two examples.

Let me be clear lest I’m misunderstood. I agree with the overwhelming majority of Patristic scholars that Trinitarian language is clearly found in the early pre-Nicene Fathers (as well as the New and Old Testaments). But what I’m saying is that the later fully developed Nicene formulation of the Trinity was an acceptable development of these rudimentary blocks. It should however not be anachronistically be read back into say Paul or Clement when it is simply not there.

The Three are again mentioned in 42, 3; 46, 6.

(Eph. 1.1; 7.2; 15.3; 17.2; 18.2; 19.3; Trall. 7.1; Rom. 3.3; 6.3; Smyrn. 1.1; Poly. 8.3).

In the later so-called “Apologists” such as Justin Martyr et al, we see a clear unfolding of the development of Trinitarian insight.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Book Review. Quantum Enigma

Quantum Enigma, Bruce Rosenblum and Fred Kuttner (New York. New York, Oxford University Press, 2008) is a study and introduction to Quantum Physics written for popular audiences (math is kept to a minimum). It is a fascinating trek beyond usual quantum studies however in that Rosenblum & Kuttner not only remain at the superficial level of quantum physics (i.e., if it works go with it don't question the deeper philosophical issues) but they dare delve into the more profound implications of quantum physics (i.e., metaphysical questions) especially in relation to the extremely "hard" question of the relation of consciousness to quantum physics, hence their title Quantum Enigma.

The advanced student of quantum physics will find nothing here that he has not already well understood. Yet this is one of the best introductions to quantum physics for the lay reader out there.

R. E. Aguirre

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Movie Review, Late Spring (Ozu)

Reviewing A Classic, Ozu's Late Spring.

Late Spring
Yasujiro Ozu (1949)

Calmness, serenity, nature in full blossom. The pace is slow - classic Ozu. The characters are the familiar troupe that Ozu likes to work with, somehow I feel like I'm watching the same previous movie of Ozu. The music seems dated and scratchy, something to be expected of old movies. Acting is subdued. The wife asks me what movie I'm watching, I respond, "Ozu's Late Spring" and she exclaims, "I love Ozu's movies!" That makes me think that Ozu's work seems almost tailored made for women, it is foremost about relationships and pithy back and forth small talk, small escapades, a chance meeting between the daughter and a professor, she needs to buy sewing needles, he agrees to accompany her. Such pleasant fortuities are a trademark of Ozu.

We learn that the daughter is 27 and still living at home with her father, recovering from some disease but still a model child. What is the problem here and why has she not found a man? Just about everyone is trying to hook her up, someone has just the man for her, he's 34 and looks like Gary Cooper, at least from the nose down it is claimed. Noriko (the daughter) finally admits, if she leaves home her father "would be lost" without her. Noriko's friend offers her some cake. She refuses, "This just goes to show you need a man" her friend responds. Noriko storms out of her house. All the while Ozu's gentle touch with the camera pervades the scenes. People leave the shot and re-enter it - yet the camera remains motionless, stoically.

The father apologizes for having kept Noriko for so long. Sweet words from a sweet man from a sweet plot and a sweet director. Everything from Ozu is sweet and delicate, birds chirp away, the camera cuts to various scenes of flowers and nature, the gentle touch of a lover. The father tells her he plans to remarry a woman they saw at a play earlier and Noriko is crushed. Noriko we later learn has agreed to marry Mr. Gary Cooper look alike who at this point we still have not met and never will (what a different approach a western director would have attempted) yet Ozu is not interested. The wedding is not shown. "It was the biggest lie of my life" says Noriko's father as he confesses that he never had an intention to remarry anyone. The lie worked, it got his daughter out of the house and into her own life. A man comes home and the house is alone deserted, he sits down and misses his daughter greatly.

What is to say about the films of Ozu that has not already been written by countless film scholars and critics? It is definitely a change of pace from the brainless action "flicks" we are so used to in western cinema. It is more like reading a novel. Quite serenity - when you want to get a way from problems and people, put in an Ozu movie and relax and be at peace with one of cinema's greatest masters. While Late Spring is not my favorite Ozu film it is still leagues above most junk being discharged today.

The final scene of Late Spring is of waves rolling in from the sea, quiet yet distressing. Life goes on despite it all. Such a gentle and sweet story would never work in today's Philistine cinema.


R. E. Aguirre